Helping Others Recover as a Physical Therapy Aide
As a part of the rapidly expanding healthcare industry, physical therapy career opportunities have also been growing in number. As more people pursue their college studies to become a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, many more are pursuing their own careers as physical therapy aides. Though they require less formal schooling than their peers, physical therapy aides must build the same knowledge base and acquire the same skills in order to properly assist within an office or clinic environment.
The Work of a Physical Therapy Aide
As the job title implies, a physical therapy aide assists the physical therapist or physical therapy assistant with a variety of physical, as well as clerical, tasks. A physical therapy aide has to have the strength to be able to assist patients during office visits, offering physical help when they need it while allowing the patient to feel more independent and move on their own as much as possible. Physical therapy aides also set up the rehabilitation equipment and prepare the space for a patient’s session.
On the clerical side, physical therapy aides often help with the basics of running the office, including paperwork, scheduling appointments and keeping the space neat and orderly. Most physical therapy aides work in private physical therapy clinics or in doctor’s offices, though about one-third work in hospitals and assisted living facilities.
Education and Requirements
Though you are not required to have a college degree to be a physical therapy aide, many colleges and vocational schools offer a physical therapy aide program. Many physical therapy offices or clinics will actually train you on-the-job if you have a high school diploma or GED.
If you really want a leg-up as you begin your career, getting properly trained is the key. Physical therapy schools, such as Southern California Health Institute (SOCHi), offer well-rounded programs that prepare you for an entry-level position in very little time. Having the right education will give you the tools you need to advance in your career, and you will have a good start on the training you need to become a certified physical therapy assistant, or even a licensed physical therapist down the road.
As a physical therapy aide, your body must be capable of doing the job, which means being able to lift, bend and kneel, as well as to assist patients as they move about the room. This could entail a great deal of physical work, so being strong and healthy is vital. Good communication skills are also needed, as well as good organizational skills and the ability to follow directions.
Being a physical therapy aide has a number of benefits for both you and your patients. Physical therapy is a rapidly growing field, with high potential for growth, especially as the Baby Boomers reach retirement. The greatest future job growth is predicted to be in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and rural areas will potentially have more jobs available than urban areas. Full-time employment is the norm, though part-time is available, and the average annual salary is around $24,500.
As you will learn while participating in the Physical Therapy Aide/ Sports Rehab program offered by SOCHi, physical therapy aides are a vital part of the rehabilitation environment. Though patient contact is limited, working as a physical therapy aide plays a direct role in the success of patient care. Keeping the office organized, schedules streamlined, and equipment properly cared for and ready for use makes each patient’s visit a better experience for all involved.
For more about the Physical Therapy Aide/ Sports Rehab program offered at SOCHi, please visit our website, or you can request information here.